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Guide to Marketing a Private Practice for Physicians

If you’re in private practice, at some point, you’re likely going to have to think about marketing, whether it’s when you first start a private practice or as you look to scale or expand your existing practice. This part of being a successful physician, much like other things related to the business of medicine, was not taught to us in medical school and may not come naturally. Fundamentally, to make a private practice successful, new patients must be able to find you. While credentialing with insurance providers is one way to do this in insurance based practices, most practices set aside a budget and create a plan to organically grow their patient base through careful marketing campaigns, networking, or other efforts. Below, we cover a multi-pronged approach to creating awareness for your practice to get patients in the door.

Disclaimers/Disclosures: This page contains information about our sponsors, as well as affiliate links, which support the group at no cost to you. These should be viewed as introductions rather than formal recommendations. We do not provide individualized advice and are not formal financial, legal, or otherwise licensed professionals. You should consult these parties as appropriate and do your own due diligence before making decisions based on this page.

7 steps to marketing a private practice


We have a host of different resources available to help you establish, market, and grow your private practice. Visit our resources for physicians in private practice to explore them all, many of which have special discounts and perks. 

A highlight of a few specific to marketing your private practice here:

Artillery designs attractive websites that are pretty reasonable in price (usually 2-5k depending on complexity). Mention PSG for $200 off.

Moo allows you to make business cards and other advertising materials, as well as branded physical merchandise. They are visually appealing and memorable and can be great for giving out as you network. Get 25% off your first purchase through our referral link.

Squarespace offers a really easy way to create websites with stylish templates yourself.  Mention code PARTNER10 for 10% off through our affiliate link.Edge Health provides college educated remote employees that work full time to perform tasks such as primary or secondary phone support, billing, claims, insurance verifications, scribing, social media, and other tasks. To learn more about Edge's services and schedule a demo, and receive $500 off each of your first 3 months, connect through our affiliate link.

To explore all our educational content about starting a private practice, visit our private practice primer for physicians.

Identify the Target Patients for Your Private Practice

Before you formulate a marketing strategy, you have to identify your target demographics and market. Delineate what your ideal patient population looks like by thinking about what services you currently offer or plan to add soon, and who those services would cater to. For example, if your ideal patient is a male athlete in his 20s, your marketing is going to look very different than if your ideal client is someone in their 70s and into playing bridge at the community center. You want to meet people where they’re at, always! 

This is especially important for cash-based practices like aesthetics practices and direct primary care, as well as other out of network, concierge practices and/or other models where insurance companies may not be supplying a steady stream of patients. 

Reaching each of your different demographic populations requires a different marketing plan, so it’s important to start with this step of identifying what the business world calls your “ideal client avatar,” or a prototypical example of who your ideal patient is.

Research Your Target Patient Population

Once you’ve identified what your target patient looks like, spend some time getting to know that demographic. Marketing for the sake of marketing can be a waste of money if you aren’t reaching the right patients who will use your services, or speaking to them in a way that they identify with.

Word of mouth referrals are one of the best ways to obtain new patients. To help build up a new patient list, assess which specialties are the most likely to refer the types of patients to you that fit the practice you’re trying to build. Spend time researching practices within your referral radius that match your selected specialties, and then develop a plan to reach out to them. You can do this by calling or emailing, asking for a meeting, networking through mutual contacts, and going to medical events in the area or joining local physician groups. Warm intros are always best, so leverage your existing networks. More about this below.

Additionally, research where your ideal patients spend their time and what kind of marketing they are likely to respond to most. If you work in geriatric care, online advertising and social media are less likely to convert into new patients than spending time in the local community and going to senior activities. Time spent at a school event is less likely to draw in the right patients than volunteering with an organization that helps seniors. If you work in pediatrics, OB/GYN, or primary care, networking at your kids’ school activities or sports activities may be a great place. Similarly, reaching out to related businesses where your patients spend their time (the gym or spa, for example) might be a good way to develop contacts for an aesthetics practice.

Whether you’re establishing or expanding your practice, also look into what services your target population needs most. You may find you are offering services that don’t lead to much potential income and are missing out on ancillary services that could help expand your practice and bring in new patients. Knowing what services are the hottest in demand can help you tailor your advertising efforts.

Develop an Online Presence To Establish Your Practice

Before you begin networking and advertising to new patients, you’ll need somewhere to direct them to learn more about your practice and to find out how to schedule appointments.

5 key steps for a private practice online presence for marketing

Building a business website is a fast, cheap, and effective way to establish your online presence. You don’t need special features like online bill pay, new patient forms, or scheduling integrated from the start if you have a limited budget or amount of time. A simple website can help provide all the necessary information potential patients need to know. Make sure you include:

  • Who you are (both as a practice and a physician)

  • Where you’re located

  • Your office hours

  • What services you offer and what you specialize in

  • What insurance you take

  • Contact information for scheduling appointments

Learn more on our physician website 101 page.

PSG Perks: If you want professional help putting together a website for your practice, Artillery designs attractive websites that are pretty reasonable in price (usually 2-5k depending on complexity). Mention PSG for $200 off. If you’re more DIY, Squarespace offers a really easy way to create websites with stylish templates yourself. Mention code PARTNER10 for 10% off through our affiliate link.

While creating your website, make sure patients can find your practice on Google Maps as well. You want to make sure when potential patients search for doctors nearby, your practice shows up in their results. You can set up your business profile in Google to include not just your practice name and location, but your office hours, website address, phone number, and more.

A social media presence is also key in today’s marketing landscape. If you're a Physician Side Gigs member, you’re already on Facebook, so take a few minutes and set up a Facebook business page for your private practice. Depending on your practice and your interest in developing content, you may want to explore other sites such as Instagram or TikTok. Becoming a physician influencer can go hand and hand with marketing your private practice, and can lead to an additional revenue stream in the future.

If you aren’t tech savvy and don’t want the hassle of maintaining a social media presence, consider adding this to the job description of your practice’s office manager, hiring a dedicated person for social media if your practice is large enough to justify a dedicated position, or hiring a virtual employee to help with the task.

PSG Perk: Edge Health provides college educated remote employees that work full time to perform tasks such as primary or secondary phone support, billing, claims, insurance verifications, scribing, social media, and other tasks. To learn more about Edge's services and schedule a demo, and receive $500 off each of your first 3 months, connect through our affiliate link.

Make Marketing Materials for Your Private Practice

Once you have made way for potential patients to learn more about you, it’s time to create materials to help drive traffic to your practice and your newly created online presence.

Business cards with your name and specialty, practice name and address, and contact information (practice main phone number, fax number, website address, and social media handles) are always good to have on hand to pass out as you network. When you go to the emergency room for a consult, make sure you have some on hand to give out to the ER staff or to happy patients. A simple and clean pamphlet or brochure summarizing the key details you included on your website above can also be handy. As you network with colleagues, you may have the opportunity to give them brochures to provide to patients they will refer down the road.

If you’re sponsoring community events, think about what things will be popular AND likely to be used by others (and thus seen by others). Instead of paying for some flimsy item that will end up in the trash or that will only ever be used in their house, think about fun giveaways that will not just get people to stop and talk to you, but where they get something that will be seen around town for sustained organic marketing, like a t-shirt, a water bottle, or an umbrella. While these may seem expensive, remember that depending on your practice, only a few new patients will more than offset the costs. Don’t go overboard, but set a reasonable budget to get the word out.

PSG Perk: Moo allows you to make business cards and other advertising materials. I get asked about these every time I hand them out. They are visually appealing and memorable. Get 25% off your first purchase through our referral link.

Networking: A Key Step to Marketing a Private Practice

During your research, you identified practices likely to be a good word of mouth referral opportunity to build your patient list. Spend some time reaching out to physicians at these practices and introducing yourself and your services. Have digital and physical copies of the marketing materials you made ready to send to them so they have a quick reference of services you offer and the best contact information to reach you for referrals. If you're comfortable with it, give them your cell phone so that they can text you directly if they need to get a patient in or if they have a question about what would be an appropriate consult.

Both attending and hosting social events are a great opportunity to introduce yourself and your services. Go to hospital events and introduce yourself to other physicians. They may need someone in your niche to refer to, or will remember you when another colleague is asking about services you offer

Along with building a reputation within the healthcare industry, spend the time to establish a presence within the community where your patients live. This is why it’s important to research your patient demographics and market above. Even though you may be tired after work, you never know when that small talk you engaged in at your kids' soccer game or a local mixer may turn into patients or referrals. Be seen, and word will spread quickly.

In an increasingly complex and often frustrating healthcare landscape for physicians and patients alike, most people like to support small practices where they feel like their concerns are heard and their health concerns are the priority. By interacting with potential patients, you can establish yourself as one of their own versus a cog in a machine.

Sponsor booths at local school, sporting, or fundraising events and talk to members of the community. As stated above, having freebies or offering a giveaway like coffee mugs or t-shirts is a great way to draw attention and makes you more likely to be seen by others.

PSG Perk: Moo has some customizable items like water bottles and notebooks.  25% off your 1st purchase through our referral link.

If you are hosting or sponsoring events such as free sports physicals or skin screenings, let the local news or newspaper know about your events.

Don’t be shy about telling people you’d love for them to refer patients to you. Encourage them to feel free to post about you or their neighborhood or local Facebook groups. You can try and join these groups directly and provide helpful advice to relevant questions as well. Ask your existing patients to tell their friends as well. People like helping people, and if they like you, they’ll be happy to help out. At the very least, when a friend asks them for a recommendation, they’ll remember you told them to feel free to market you.

Social media networking can be another great avenue to explore, depending on your interests and talents. Establishing a LinkedIn profile can be a great way to virtually connect with colleagues or small businesses in your local community. Interacting with potential patients via a business Facebook page can be another way to build your network and reach potential patients.

Networking can be a slow process at first as you get established in your new practice. Don’t give up! While you may not see a return on the investment of your time immediately, networking almost always yields great results in the long run, and for no significant cost. By networking with a colleague or at a community event, you have the opportunity to leverage their network they’ve established for future word of mouth referrals.

Networking opportunities to help market your private practice

Advertise Your Private Practice

Along with spending time networking, make a financial investment in your marketing campaign. Advertising is often a tax deductible expense for independent contractors and small business owners.

Which advertising outlets to explore depends on where your ideal patient population usually goes for recommendations. If you haven’t already, spend time researching your target demographics and market. If you aren’t sure which advertising strategy is likely to work the best, do test advertisements and see which option provides the most referrals of relevant patients who schedule appointments. Make sure your staff asks during intake how they heard of your practice so you can determine which strategies are working best.

Some popular advertising options include:

  • Paid ads on social media sites like Facebook

  • A billboard in your community

  • A radio advertisement during a program your target patient population is likely to listen to

  • A newspaper or magazine ad

  • An ad on a website your target population is likely to frequent

  • Sponsoring a community event

  • Sponsoring a kids’ sports team

Content Creation and Its Role in Advertising and Marketing

If you enjoy educating patients and have a creative side (and spare time–we know starting a new practice is a lot!), also consider content creation, now or in the future as you build your private practice. This can be a huge boost to a practice, and support staff or a third party company can help provide these services to lessen your administrative load.

Topics for content can include:

  • Posting reminders of practice closures, special events, annual preventative screenings, upcoming community events you’re involved in, etc.

  • Special promotions you’re running

  • Pictures of you and your staff at the office working or volunteering in the community

  • Answers to commonly asked questions

  • Updates on latest scientific findings in your specialty

By routinely adding content online, you will show up in front of your patients–both current and future – and remind them to schedule wellness visits or follow ups. Active social media accounts and websites are also more likely to gain new organic traffic of people finding you through search features and hashtags on social media sites or Google, which can lead to increased visibility to potential new patients.

Developing your own content, or reaching out to others for guest opportunities on theirs, is a great way to establish a presence online and to network. By building out your online presence, you increase your likelihood of expanding your reach to your target patient population–as long as you’re creating the right content.

Be intentional about the content you put out, either yourself or in collaboration with others. While leveraging other people’s networks can still pay dividends in the future, your efforts are best spent when you create content that aims directly to your target patient population instead of hoping they might mention it to family or friends it relates to.

Some content creation ideas (that as a bonus can also lead to alternative income streams for doctors!) include:

Content creation take a lot of time and energy, so don’t go too far down that rabbit hole at first. Start with the basics and ask your patients to follow your social media accounts. As they start interacting with your content, social media algorithms will show your content to their friends and family, many of whom will be local. It will build over time and can turn out to be some of the cheapest but most effective advertising you do.

Marketing Via Patients: The Network You’ve Already Built

As we touched on above, word of mouth referrals are typically the best new patients you can bring to your practice. Along with getting referrals from colleagues and asking for referrals through networking events above, ask your patients! Happy patients typically refer other happy patients to you. 

Ask patients satisfied with their care if they mind leaving a review on sites such as Google Maps, Facebook, etc. A brief mention from the office staff as they schedule their next appointment, or a link to provide a review sent with a billing statement, can be a simple way to ask for support. You can even have a stack of business cards and brochures behind the front desk for staff to hand to patients while asking for referrals and reviews.

While marketing to new patients is essential to growing your practice, don’t forget to keep track of the patients you already have! An automated system with appointment reminders for follow ups and annual wellness visits can be a great way to make it easier for busy patients to schedule. Just make sure you don’t implement too many different automated reminders, as you don’t want to drive patients away by constantly bombarding them via email, text, phone calls, and snail mail.


Successful marketing looks different for each private practice depending on your target patient population, specialty, billing structure, and services provided. The general steps above, however, should provide you a benchmark to start, regardless of your practice.

Marketing takes time and patience. Setting up a website and posting an ad on Facebook won’t fill up your schedule overnight. Explore different marketing opportunities and assess what works and what doesn’t. While it may take time to generate the word of mouth buzz you hope to obtain, long periods of time without any inquiries are a signal that your current marketing strategy isn’t working and should be reevaluated.

If you have more questions, reach out in our online physician communities and pick your colleagues brains on what’s worked for them. Additionally, check out our private practice educational primer and private practice resources to help guide you through the private practice journey. You’ve got this.

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